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Intern Spotlight: Elizabeth Shaeffer

Guest Blogger: Liz Shaeffer, Intern

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My name is Liz Shaeffer and I am an intern here at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in Sacramento, California.  I am a junior at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and I came home for the summer looking for an internship that would teach me a little bit more about the lobbying and advocacy processes.  I became interested in Advocacy after taking a class on interest groups and elite behavior last spring.  In this class, a representative from a lobbying firm in Sacramento came to address to our class, and suddenly all of my course readings started to make sense.  From this experience, I became interested in interning for the American Heart Association because my grandfather has always been very active in the organization, so it was a familiar place to begin my first internship. 

On my first day of work I was thrown into the fire and was tasked to follow Callie Hanft (California’s Government Relations Director) around the Capitol building.  I learned first-hand how to successfully lobby against a bill.  It was a unique experience that taught me about the advocacy process that I wouldn’t learn from my classes at school or from an online seminar. 

I play lacrosse at USC, but my other interests include cooking and hiking.  I am currently double-majoring in both Sociology and Political Science. The first major I chose was Sociology because I have always been interested in the way people interact with one another and how we create social norms.  I then added the Political Science major after taking a few political science classes and realizing that I could use that background knowledge from my sociology courses on a bigger stage to help influence laws and government.

After I graduate, I hope to stay in Southern California for a few years and work in the government relations sector of a company, or anything else advocacy-related.  One thing I’ve definitely learned so far as an intern is that there is much more to advocacy than the lobbyist that actually goes in the Capitol.  But ultimately, I aspire to become a lobbyist in Sacramento. 

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